Resurrected Entertainment

Treasure your Console

June 26, 2013

Ouya Console

There are some people who are collectors, they love to hoard and collect things of all types, and others who git rid of things as soon as they stop using them. There are still others who shoot them on sight when playing Mass Effect 2. Unfortunately for video game consoles, they tend to be traded, given away, or discarded more often than not as soon as the next big thing comes along. The fact is that for many of us, it is simply not practical to hold onto every piece of hardware that crosses your path, even though we may want to hold on to it.

I enjoy playing games on the console hardware, but I also enjoy playing those same games through an emulator because some the console’s quirks can irritate me after a while. I tend to be a pragmatist when it comes to gaming nostalgia; generally speaking, if I don’t use or enjoy the console or the games available for it, then I will get rid of it. The reasons for doing this are almost always centred around clutter; I relish my hobby more if I can find and use the games I enjoy more easily. I almost never throw these systems away, although a friend of mine will attest to an unfortunate incident involving a fully functional Atari ST computer and monitor going into the trash in a moment of weakness, but these incidents are very rare thankfully.

These bits of retro hardware are full of little issues for the modern gamer. They don’t work very well on new televisions, they sometimes emit a musty smell, their hardware eventually deteriorates to the point where certain components need to be replaced, they lack save state functionality, and they often require bulky things like cartridges in order to do something useful. Some of these problems can be addressed: the console hardware can be modified to support new output technologies like component or RCA or VGA, the failing hardware components can be replaced with higher quality modern electronics, new cartridges are often available that use flash or SD Card storage and, of course, they can be cleaned.

However, I am of the opinion that certain pieces of gaming hardware and software are more than just the sum of their parts and are worth hanging onto because they represent something greater, even if they don’t work that well out of the storage box. We are part of a very large body of people in the world who have been brought up with iconic video game characters like Mario and Zelda in their daily lives. Many other elements of video game culture such as the people involved, the companies behind the platforms, the art, music and sound effects have permeated our society over the last five decades. Many of these systems have long and varied histories, most of which are very interesting from a cultural and technological standpoint. They are the reason you are using a smart phone right now, and they are also the reason you television has a web browser. There are numerous books published on video game history and technology which are available through various on-line retailers or perhaps directly through the author’s own web site, if you desire something fun and interesting to read. For those systems you found fun to play, try hanging onto them for a while, your kids may enjoy using them and you may certainly enjoy regaling them with interesting historical tidbits as they develop an appreciation for the devices they use.

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